The village of Vrastama in Halkidiki is particularly beautiful, surrounded by olive groves and with the sound of goat bells constantly in the air. The villagers are very proud of their Saint Efthimios. He came to the village in the ninth century to escape from the terrible attacks of pirates on nearby Mount Athos, and discovering a cave in a secluded river valley near the village, made it his retreat for a number of years.
The villagers love and revere him and several times a year they walk down the precipitous path to the peaceful river bed and the cave where they celebrate the divine liturgy just as the saint would have done. It is an unforgettable experience to participate in the liturgy there and to sit by the river afterwards and partake of the feast that the villagers prepare in honour of the saint. These are timeless traditions which help us to think of our past and enable us to deal with the difficulties of modern life.